Posts Tagged: braces

Food and Oral Hygiene | The External Process

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Hello lovely friends,

Yes, I love eating, and as you can tell from my last post, I have braces, which can make one of my favorite actions in life a frustrating and daunting task, sometimes.  But, fear not!  As I’m sure you could have guessed, I have ample ideas to help keep those chompers clean with or without the braces.  It’s not always convenient to carry around some type of oral sanitizing device with you, but a tasty treat can both cleanse your palate–and your teeth–whilst satiating your cravings.

Let me break it down for ya!

What’s the What:

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This could be you before, after and between all meals!

  • Chewing & Saliva:  I know, I know. I told you that if you have braces you’ll have to give the nay-no to crunchy foods, but that’s mainly if you’re BITING into those crunchy foods.  So, chomp away, with mighty conviction knowing that with each bite you’re helping to reduce plaque build up on your teeth by minimizing food particle build-up on and around your teeth.  What is more, with every bite you will be producing more saliva, which in turn will help to balance the pH in your mouth.  [Ideal oral pH = 7.3 or 7.4]  There are strips you can buy to test this.  A dry mouth = highly acidic = gum recession and bone loss.  Additionally, you will increase your nutrient absorption if you’re properly masticating your comestibles.
  • Breath & Decay:  Bacteria can breed easily in our mouth and is cariogenic– meaning the bacteria that spreads in our mouth can cause decay.  This bacteria not only leads to decay but once festering in your mouth, can cause unpleasant breath. In regards to matters of hygiene, the sitch in our mouth may be more like a stench, and this is for various reasons outside of what I’m going to expound upon today in this blog.  Just know that if your gut is unhappy, or unbalanced in the proper bacteria–those that help keep a healthy gut–then you may or may not see repercussions of that unhappy gut displayed in your breath.  Also, some foods that we eat will overpower our senses with strong odors, while others go unnoticed.  Furthermore, if you’re out with a loved one and they’re eating garlic and onions, take a bite, then you’ll become foul breath buddies for the night.  Alternatively, if you know you’ll be consuming a culprit bad breath edible, see the list of the yummy-time chow below to follow-up a meal.
  • Between Meals & Characteristics:  What’s less manifest in the dental health realm is implementing proper saliva inducing properties between meals.  One thing is for sure, consuming fermentable carbs [see below] will surely lead to decay and, again, an improper balance in your oral pH.  Moreover, carbohydrates that cling to your teeth begin the process of something that’s almost like an acid wash over your teeth and gums. Stay away from the sticky carbs or IMMEDIATELY rinse your mouth out.

What to Look Out For:

John Lennon

John Lennon

  1. Fermentable Carbs [keep these to a minimum if you have or suspect you have certain intolerances like lactose, fructose, fructans, and sorbitol]:  dairy, apples, watermelon, pears, wheat, brussels, avocados
  2. Foods that help increase saliva:  citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange), xylitol gum, room temperature or mildly warm soup, lemon juice in water
  3. Post-Odorous Breath Inducing Foods:  cinnamon (try mixing a shake of cinnamon with hot water and drink it like tea, add stevia or xylitol for sweetening), spearmint and mint (if you have these herbs readily available, either place a couple of leaves in your mouth and suck, then chew and swallow, concentrating on the back tongue area, or make a nice, fresh tea). Also, try chewing on a sprig of parsley (if this sounds strange to some of you, and you’re more the type to throw away that ‘garnish’ on your plate, save it just once until the end of your meal, chew it up, and see if it works).
  4. Whenever Eats:  apples, pears, tomatoes, celery, nuts, jicima, radishes, cucumber, strawberries (assist in cleansing and mild bleaching), green tea (if you can  handle caffeine), spinach & lettuce (reduce staining)

It’s important for us all to keep in mind how fastened our dietary choices are to many aspects of our life, and this includes our dental health.  I find this topic very interesting so thanks for letting me share with you.  And remember…bite responsibly!

Healthy Regards,

RAM

-featured gifs:  courtesy maudit (tumblr)

Braces & Eating

by:  Charles Schulz

by: Charles Schulz

 

Good Evening Everyone,

Oh, how I’ve missed writing so very much!  There have been many new occurrences and happenings lately in my life that have swept me away, but they are all good changes.  A good shake-up is something I always welcome because as much as we all like to resist and avoid change, I understand it is necessary and wonderful for all of us.

I thought it best to keep up with the ever-changing mood of my life lately in today’s post, which is all about braces and food.  Oddly enough, the mouth–from my observations–is mainly focused on, in the media, as a point of sexual attraction and stimulation, but rarely is the mouth, or the teeth within a mouth, focused on as a utilitarian device for, well, consumption.  There are of course numerous ads for teeth cleaning devices and aesthetic improvement tools for ones lips and teeth, but rarely are these ads aimed at why having clean, less crowded teeth is important. When they are aimed at this topic, the scientific tip is second to the exquisite design of the ad and the beautiful person displaying said product.  My point?  Today I would like to talk about what it means to have those chompers all bracketed up with metals or ceramics and how this act impacts our eating habits which in turn impacts our oral health.  Yes, it’s all connected!

Digestion begins in the mouth as a mechanical process wherein we chew our food, break it down into small particles and then our saliva, which contains the enzyme ptyalin, begins the digestion of starch from food into maltose (a sugar/disaccharide).  Knowing this process is important because having a device like braces in your mouth could potentially hinder you from chewing properly or at all.  The mouth is where all physical consumption begins and that’s why braces can become a true nuisance if you’re not careful.

Here are a few thoughts and recommendations to those of you out there braced up.

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  • First and foremost, CHEW it all up.  There’s a company called HapiLabs that has created a utensil that helps calculate the amount of time you need to properly chew your food by how quickly you do or don’t return said utensil to your mouth.  It’s a fantastic idea and I can’t wait to get my hands on one!  Yes, these sorts of things excite me.  Thanks to a friend who mentioned this ingenious gadget to me.
  • What I’m about to mention may sound very strange to those of you who are brace free, but to those burdened, try to become accustomed to the grooves and feel of your teeth and where your pesky troublesome spots are.  What do I mean?  Where are the spots in your mouth where food gets easily jammed, stuck, squished, notched, etc. Knowing the vexing spots will enable you to become even more of an active participant in eating.
  • Don’t be embarrassed.  Yes, sometimes when you’re eating, some food particles will inevitably get lodged somewhere that’s inconvenient.  This will happen, so accept this fact now and move on.  What you can do is pay attention and have water handy.  A modest swish won’t hurt anybody and it’s not breaking any major etiquette rules.
  • Have hygiene tools readily available.  Depending on your situation, this may or may not be convenient, but my suggestion is to always have tooth powder/paste, a brush, floss and flossers, and those small rubber stick-like flossing devices handy–these are the most convenient for a small bag, wallet or clutch.  At home, I’d also recommend a water-flosser and of course a nice chemical free mouth wash.  I recommend something with tea-tree oil, peppermint oil, or sage oil.

 

  • What to avoid eating:
  1. Anything too sticky or chewy, I would avoid.
  2. Don’t over-do it with citrus foods like lemons and limes because they can impact the exposed enamel and leave markings while the tooth surface area that’s covered becomes discolored.
  3. On the note of discoloration, I would avoid excessive consumption of dark drinks like black teas, coffee, Dandy Blend, dark ales and even red wine.  I’m not saying avoid these all together, but over-consumption without proper home hygiene and regular dental cleanings will lead to more intrinsic staining you won’t find too appealing later when the braces come off.  Additionally, don’t fret too much about some staining you may see while in the braces, this is natural as your teeth are undergoing a slow trauma, depending on the type of staining you can get rid of it later.
  4. Hard and overly crunchy foods are unfortunately a big no-no in the braces world.  So if you’re a big fan of biting into carrots and celery, you’ll have to get accustomed to pre-slicing your food.

    www.animal.discovery.com

    www.animal.discovery.com

  5. I would also stray away from sharp crusts and biting INTO foods.  This was a very difficult point for me to comprehend in the beginning.  That’s what our teeth are there for, biting, right? Wrong, not when you have braces.  Bite sizes, that’s going to be your new best friend.
  6. Gum. I wouldn’t touch gum unless you’re very strategic.
  7. For other obvious body health reasons as well and to assist yourself in NOT getting gum recession, plaque build up and cavities, avoid intense amounts of sugary goods.  If you partake in a sweet-tooth-sweet, have the foresight to keep those handy hygiene tools around to give the ol’ chompers a cleanse.
  • I considered making a list of foods that would be helpful to consume, but to be honest, my diet hasn’t changed that dramatically since I got braces in January.  Most of the nuances mentioned already covered any changes or adjustments I have had to undergo and obstacles I’ve had to overcome.  Eating is something I enjoy greatly and I think it’s incredibly important to understand and enjoy the process.  Today, I can’t think of a better way of getting closer to my food than to understand how my body and those foreign and helpful devices have to handle it.

I hope this post was helpful and gave some of you a better perspective on the many aspects of the eating world.

Sending all of my braced and non-braced friends out there love and un-gunked teeth thoughts!  And remember… bite responsibly (especially with those bracket buddies). :p

 

Healthy Regards,

RAM